Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

452 Reviews
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Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001

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Reviews: 452 | Ratings: 803
Photo of OneDropSoup
2.92/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Elwood's Pub in Rural Ridge, PA.

Poured into a shaker pint: Transparent purple-ish brown under a finger of tan head that drops stays intact.

Smell is clear caramel & lightly burnt sugar, buttery, like caramel corn. There's the tiniest bit of fruity hop, like sweet fig. Close to Southern Tier's Creme Brulee in its evocative power, pretty good stuff.

Oy, the taste is a different story. Immediately watery, dry, a little bready malt with a kind of caramel "flavoring" at the back that doesn't do enough to make this drinkable or enjoyable.

Thin, dry, not doing much texturally at all.

Man, this started off promising & I really dug the smell - what happened? Weak sauce, indeed.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.22/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - A light somewhat whispy beige head no persistent carbonation to speak of. I do like rose / burgundy color of the beer even though clarity is quite high and the overall color not that dark for a porter.

S - This is a hate it or love it smell. Caramel note exist obviously, but when they mix with the hops and yeast smells what you get is something that smells just like cheesecake. Gram cracker crust, whip cream on top, cheesecake.

T - Sweet initially then a bit plain and hollow then a sharp bite at the end that hangs around almost long enough to wear out it's welcome but not quite. The flavor is adequate and inspiring but under-performs in the end.

M - Carmel at the beginning, hollow in the middle, and fizzy at the end. Just not quite enough porter and not enough caramel.

D - This beer is like a cover band or the second album that comes out after a band has a really big hit. I don't mean that Saranac had lots of hits in the past what I mean is the idea is awesome, and the album cover is good, and much like the bacon beers and chocolate beers why not put two great things together. In the end though the flavor just can't live up to the hype.

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Photo of beagle75
1.94/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Clear, dark brown color with one finger of diminishing mocha-tinted foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Syrupy butterscotch is heavily emphasized, drowning out other, more style-appropriate, aromas. Cola is suggested at.

T: Begins barely off-dry, with mild earthy hop aromatics that are pre-empted by oppressive butterscotch extract. Carbonic acid briefly surges, followed by artificial sweetness that slowly swells on the palate. The finish is mellow by comparison to the earlier acts.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, astringent on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: While it sounded appealing on the label, this beer's practically undrinkable nature shows the caramel feature to be nothing more than a poorly-executed gimmick. The palate suffers a moment of dread at the prospect of being freshly awash in this beer's displeasing flavor and textural qualities.

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Photo of Fadefury
3.04/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark brown, with slight amber colors. Decent head that disappears quickly

S- Great smell of caramel and sweetness

T- Artificial taste overwhelms the beer. What could have been a great idea, turns out wrong because they seem to have taken the cheap way out.

M- Not very thick, but with mild carbonation, it makes it on it's way to my preferred feeling for a porter

O- It's a cheap porter. I picked up a 6 pack for 6.99. For a micro brew, this is rather cheap. I was expecting a lot from Saranac, but was disappointed by the lack of quality.

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Photo of stealth
2.32/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured nicely, smelled great. Caramel! Lots of caramel! and malts! How can this go wrong. Well it goes wrong because it tastes like someone took the most generic, god-awful artificially sweetened caramel and liquified it and poured it into an otherwise good porter. The first few tastes weren't bad, actually, but then the artificial caramel sweetener built and built like a rolling snowball and buried my palate under a ton of disgusting fake caramel. Saranac can do better.

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Photo of bearsxco
3.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- poured a dark amber brown with small beige head that disappears quickly.

S- strong smell of caramel, sweet and sugary.

T- just a strong sweet caramel taste. Overpowering. Tastes almost like a soda would.

M- slightly thick and heavy syrup feel. Carbonation ok.

O- not a favorite. Good idea but taste like a caramel syrup poured in a soda. A beer that you want to commit a beer sin and not finish.

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Photo of coalandsilver
3.67/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dang, I like this unique brew. I am no connoisseur of beer but I know what I like. When I want a sweeter brew with lots of flavor this meets that requirement. The caramel is apparent and fills the palate with flavor and sweetness (that is a good thing...isn't that why you grabbed a brew with that name?). So, if you don't like caramel flavor in your porter, don't buy it because it is what it says it is. You can't ask for more and you shouldn't ask for less! And, BTW the ladies like this one, if they like better brews than Coors Light.

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Photo of jb413
3.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a beautiful dark dark brown, essentially an off-black. Slightly over a finger of creamy tan head, however it shrinks down quickly to almost nothing. Bit of lacing, but less than impressive.

S - Aroma is dominated by a heavy dose of caramel and sweetness. Some hoppiness underlies though it's tough to pick up on. The caramel note is fairly artificial, and is very reminiscent of bottled caramel and butterscotch syrups.

T - Fortunately the caramel is more subtle in taste than the nose, however it's still large in presence. Moderately sweet in front. I'd be surprised if the taste is derived from actual malts, rather than flavoring. Faint hops and bitterness in the finish.

MF - Smooth, slightly creamy, light-medium in body, pretty drinkable for the style. Perhaps a tad overcarbonated for my liking.

O - A solid number of gripes here. I felt it could have used a more balanced profile, a better hop back-end, a bigger body, and less artificial-ish caramel flavor. Not terrible. But certainly underwhelming and average. Disappointing after I really enjoyed their Octoberfest a month ago.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
2.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a bit of an odd amber brown color that is perfectly clear, pours with a little over a finger of creamy medium tan head that lingers nicely and leaves a slight amount of lacing
S: the scent here is kind of odd, sweet kind of like dark chocolate with a little bit of caramel notes, not all that great
T: taste follows right along with the scent, sweet, same chocolate notes, small amount of caramel, leaves a bit of caramel taste on the palate
M: intense on the carbonation, kind of thick but in a vanilla extract kind of way, does leave the mouth feeling pretty nice
O: an enjoyable enough brew but nothing really even stands out, scent is bleh, taste is eh, appearance is the best part

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Photo of chilly460
3.39/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark mahogancy brown with a light mocha head. Big three finger head with good retention and lacing.

S- Dark roasted malt with a very deep vanilla caramel sugar aroma. A bit of nutty malt smell as well.

T- Flavor was sort of thin, with the caramel coming in but tasting a bit of extract.

M- Light and watery with lower carbonation than expected.

O - Great smelling beer that just doesn't work out, caramel is overpowering and doesn't really taste integrated

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.63/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I served this in a shaker pint.

Appearance- This one has a thin, khaki-colored film. The body is akin to maple syrup with slight auburn highlights.

Smell- Wow that is sweet, too sweet in fact. This is the first truly cloying beer I have smelled. It is Wonder white bread with vanilla and caramel drizzled on top.

Taste- A very malty offering that is slightly bitter from the roast. There is some slight white bread flavor mid-drink that blends with the caramel malt.

The finish has strong vanilla extract flavors. It is not nearly as sweet as on the nose, thankfully. Halfway through the glass I am also detecting some chocolate in the finish.

Mouth feel- It is medium bodied and a little too fizzy on the tongue. It still drinks nicely and is not harsh.

Overall- The beer smells entirely too sweet, but makes some points back with the flavors. If the base roasted malt was stronger, this would be a nice little porter.

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Photo of dtivp
2.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear ruby brown with half a finger tan head that fades quickly, no lacing.

Aroma of sweet caramel and chocolate.

Taste was extremely sweet, dominated by the caramel, I couldn't taste anything else.

Mouth Feel was light body, very light carbonation and Sweet that as it came to room temperature, it got sweeter.

Overall you could say this is a desert beer, however, it is way to sweet for my taste.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.35/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark black, vicious in color with a half inch of mocha colored head. Decent.

S - Wow like liquid caramel chocolates. I get strong sweet sticky caramel and mild milk chocolate.

T - Good at first the sweetness really doesn't get to me and it drinks like a sweet porter but about half the glass my tongue can't take it and I couldn't even consider having a second. Like drinking pure flavor extract in water.

M - Was pretty light to medium body but flavors get cloying

Overall at first I was considering getting a case but I can't believe how cloying the beer gets. Would be nice to have a six pack though as a nightcap.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.4/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

it sounds so tempting but the execution of this brew is off a little to me. pours dark and enticing, but smells like an artificial caramel than the real butter and burnt sugar authentic article. taste is the same, like a nice porter meets a sugardaddy. lousy caramel on a stick... the texture of the porter is really smooth and the mouthfeel of this beer is quite good. overall it is a nice winter beer from time to time, defnitely too weird to be sessionable. i would love to try a different caramel porter, but this is the only one i have ever seen, so bonus points for originality.

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Photo of stckhndlr
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- dark ruby brown with a 1 finger head of light tan.

S- super caramel aroma with alot of sugar to it. smells way too sweet.

T- Caramel and malts with a tinge of alcohol.

M- mid body and smooth with a little bite on the finish.

O- Its an ok beer but it kinda grows on ya if you give it a chance.

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Photo of wac9
3.36/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

what can i say this beer taste great there something in this beer that i havent tasted before i think i got a buy a case , looks like a regular dark beer nothing new there the smell is up lifting a good smell but its the taste its great thank you old man who leaves beer out for his mailman

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into goblet.
Dark brown color, with thin off-white head.
Caramel, sweet, malty aroma. A bit over carbonated for my liking. Sweet, caramel, malt flavor...seems somewhat lacking, but not undrinkable. Not my go to porter, but somewhat unique...I guess...meh.

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Photo of engagechad
3.79/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer on sale at kroger so it may or may not have been sitting around for a while.

A - Brown. Looks like a brown ale really
S - Smells awesome, caramel and bitter
T - Initial hit is caramel, then it just lingers like a brown
M - Not much going on
D - I thought it was quite drinkable, but I really like dark beers

Rereviewed - fresh i think.

Looks great, pale porter traditional. decent head and lacing.
Smells sooo good.. great caramel on the nose.
Taste is fresher this time, nice body. light drinkable porter.
Feels smooth and overall this was a much better beer fresh.

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Photo of bubseymour
2.28/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance- Brownish purple and very dark with a 3 finger nice head.

Smell - Extreme caramel smell like candy and nothing else. Has no resemblence to a beer smell.

Taste - yuk..followed by crisp bitterness

Mouthfeel - Actually very full bodied and creamy.

Overall - Very poor beer. Weird tasting and not pleasant.

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Photo of beachfirebrews
2.46/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

After having Saranac's Vanilla Porter, I was pretty excited to try their Caramel Porter. Comparing it to the vanilla porter, I was pretty disappointed. The caramel flavor seemed very fake, almost like the taste you get when caramel syrup is added to coffee. The caramel flavor also out-powered the maltyness of the porter. Also, the smell was overpoweringly sweet and not very enjoyable.

Overall, unimpressed. Guess I'll just have to look forward to my Vanilla Porter in the 12 Beers of Winter!

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Photo of rdub
2.5/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Part of the 12 beers a fallin. Best by January 2012. Poured into my Duvel tulip. Dark brown color with minimal head and not much activity. Sweet caramel syrup smell. Sweet caramel syrup taste. Way too sweet. Wow is this sweet. Quick to shotgun due to the relatively low ABV, low carbonation and light body. Super sweet. Maybe I need to pair the last one with dark chocolate.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.65/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass. Color is a deep rich mahogany, too light for a usual porter, yet too dark for a brown ale. The head is a fluffy pillow of cream that dissipates to a wisp of bubbles across the top. Sticky, random lacing. The aroma of sweet caramel dominates. The taste is very simple and straightforward: roasted malts and tons of sticky sweet caramel. I'm not detecting any sort of burnt malt porter taste anywhere though. The mouthfeel is just about right for a porter. Overall, this beer is one of those overly sweet dessert beers that goes down way too smooth because of said sweetness. If the ABV was higher, you could really get in trouble here, but it's okay at 5.4%. I probably should have bought a single bottle of this instead of a six pack, because the cloying sweetness is just too much to session with. I also didn't feel like I drank a porter, at all. I'll call Saranac immediately and ask them to re-name it as Saranac Caramel Brown Ale!

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Photo of barleyroad
4/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark brown, nice in the light. the smell is good and there is a hint of caramel, which is good. The feel on the mouth is good as porters go, finishes good. Taste, what a combination with this porter to have a caramel finish. Hay give me an apple with this beer. Overall this is a nice smooth porter that is good anytime when finishing the night. We have an idea, mix this half and half with a good apple lambic. Wow, you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.03/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown with a bit of white head.

Smells very sweet like buttery caramel corn. Tons of caramel and sugar.

Taste is way to sweet. Caramel overload with this beer. Very buttery and artificial tasting.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick and syrupy.

Wouldn't try this one again.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #75
Served On: 10/10/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass
Labeled ABV: 5.4%
Date/ Code: Jan 2012

This was in the 2011 Saranac 12 Beers A- Falling mixed 12 pack.

Look: Ruby reddish color. Semi clear beer with little carbonation. Tan head that died down to a small ring around the glass.

Smell: Immediately I got a sourer apple aroma with some faint caramel and toffee. Smells extremely bitter - borderline artificial.

Taste: The taste was way better than the nose. Mouth feel was rather thin for a porter. First on the palate was a sweet caramel with a semisweet chocolate bitterness. The middle was a pleasant roasted malt with caramel lingering in the background. Finish was slightly bitter with the roasted quality returning for a while.

Overall this was a solid brew with some interesting complexity. Initially I was a little concerned with the odd aroma - It almost reminded me of another gimmicky flavored beer. After sipping on it for a while, the palate became better and better. I still think there may be some artificial flavoring used in this one.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.14 out of 5 based on 803 ratings.
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